Previous 1 2 3 Next 61 Replies Latest reply: Jul 17, 2014 9:39 PM by JEM24
Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

The Problem:

Popping or clicking sound or noise when using a USB cable connection with any music playback device (home stereo receiver, car audio, portable speakers with USB, etc) This sound is likened to vinyl record noise, popping and clicking. It is random and does NOT repeat in the same spot.


I’ve started this post to bring focus to this issue and to show a relationship to all similar USB related issues in this forum and will be hopeful that the OEM (Apple) will see it is a major problem to be address, ASAP.


The ongoing ‘thread’ ( beginning in 2010 spotlighting USB playback noise (Popping Sounds) with car audio devices, seam to be one of the same issue and I would advise all to test this by simply connecting to another (USB) playback device (if you don’t have one; try connecting to an in-store demo speaker/amp or home-receiver with USB)


Some Background:

My spec. is as follows; New iPod Touch 64, 4G, iOS-5.1 using iTunes (ver. on a Win-7 Pro, SP-1


To validate some discussion on my part; iPod user since 2004 and have owned 5 different models. Professional background; audio recording engineer, cross-platform computer technician and OEM builder, multimedia engineer.



As of 10/2011, new iPod Touch (‘iTouch’) began making popping sounds with USB playback thru car stereo. I have never had this problem with any iPod prior to using the new iTouch 4G with iOS-5. Have NOT verified if this began after iOS-5 or iTunes 10.5 updates.



-Verified it was only thru USB, apart from PC connection (playback via USB thru iTunes, built-in iPod speaker, headphones or dock connection to a playback device are ok).


-Used various USB cables (Belkin and the original Apple USB) which made no improvement.


-Connecting to home-stereo (new Yamaha RX-V671) using USB produced the same problem; therefore it is not related solely to car-audio devices.


I hope this brief (and the feedback to follow) will be a motivating force for resolving this ongoing problem. I will open an Apple Support item on this issue.

iPod touch, Windows 7
  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)


    Additional Testing Notes for USB Issue: This popping sound also occurs when playing the iTouch in Airport Mode, so not related to WiFi activity. The popping also occurs with all types of music source formats, whether original CD’s ripped in either iTunes Lossless or NERO Lossless (m4a) at above 400kbps, 256kbs MP3’s purchased from OR 256kbs M4A files from the iTunes Store. It is most noticeable with soft music or passages and with low level recordings that you must playback at a higher volume. This is all very interesting indeed.

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    Additional Notes:

    Reading through other ‘posts’ reporting the same popping problems, it should be noted that this is a cross-platform problem, unrelated to either iMac or PC systems and solely with the iPod itself.


    This makes it a product-wide problem for Apple. RECALL comes to mind... but most likely it is firmware/software fix.


    ‘We’ (the people), have done the R&D (freely) for you Apple (CEO, Tim Cook), we have identified the problem. Now it is time for you to step-up to the plate.

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    Final Notes:

    Upon further review of other ‘posts’ reporting the same popping noise; it becomes obvious this problem is affecting both the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. This USB playback popping noise problem is a Product-Wide problem across at least Two Product Lines and most likely affecting a huge number of units.


    I report all of this in disbelief that a problem affecting so many units has continued for well over a year (when I've Identified the problem over a weekend). I imagine the iPhone’s antenna problem, how it must have cost Apple in sales and embarrassment… Please fix this problem, thanks.


    Is this also a problem with the iPad? Please reply...

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    Conclusive Testing with Repeatable Results:

    By preparing five WAVE files for testing (of 3mins each) as follows;  Silence (No Room Tone),  50Hz/-20dB single tone,  1kHz/-20dB single tone,  BrownNoise/-20dB,  and finally VioletNoise/-20dB (BrownNoise is simultaneous multi-low frequency tones and VioletNoise is simultaneous multi-high frequency tones).  Playback was made through iPod USB port of a new (out of box) Yamaha RX-V671 Receiver.


    The Test Results:

    With playback volume set at around -28dB (typical 100w amp),  the ‘Silence’ WAVE file produced no popping noise as was the same case with both 50Hz/-20dB single tone,  1kHz/-20dB single tone files.


    However; when I played the BrownNoise/-20dB,  and  VioletNoise/-20dB WAVE files, the popping noise loudly occurred every time. This conclusively demonstrates that the iPod Touch/iPhone USB popping noise does exist and most likely related to how it processes that data thru a USB connection. The popping noise also had no relationship to the recorded amplitude and occured in a random nature each time.

  • FockerRN Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm having the same problem. I thought maybe it was my external DAC, because I'm running my laptop (iTunes) into my DAC via a USB-to-spdif adapter. It happens at least once per song and, as you pointed out, it occurs randomly. Apple needs to FIX THIS because I have a lot of time and money invested in my Apple Lossless music collection, which is nearing 200gb. I have a high end audio rig and my laptop is my primary source.

  • gh76 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same issue here. Was using an Ipod classic 5th generation (latest firmware) without issues in a Chevy Cruze. Upgraded to an Ipod touch 4th generation (latest firmware) and the sound crackles and pops when playing the same files in the same vehicle.

    The issue is reproducible.

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    Compared Product Testing:

    Yes, this problem is ONLY with the APPLE products.


    Just finished comparable tests on a Sony Walkman, using USB connection on both Home Theater System and Car Stereo.

    The same tests (as above) using the same wave files on the same equipment, playback thru the Walkman was normal and did NOT exhibit any of the noises which plague the APPLE devices mentioned here.


    Not good news for APPLE has we near the bigs sales season of the year, PLEASE Fix This Problem...

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    @ FockerRN and @ gh76


    Thanks for the additional info.

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    @ FockerRN:


    Are you saying that the popping noise is present when you use iTunes to playback (USB output) into an ext. DAC? I don’t see how this would be related as iTunes is reliant on the computer system. How does your DAC interface with the computer, it must have some type of USB interface (your USB-to-spdif)?  I would take a good look that the ‘drivers’ for that first. Either way, that issue would not change (or corrupted) the integrity of your music file library so no need to be alarmed there. Sounds like a driver issue.

  • FockerRN Level 1 (0 points)

    You know what? You're exactly right. I feel like an idiot! I had experienced the popping a few months ago, so I went online and did a search and I found people reporting the same issue. I just assumed it was an iTunes problem. Well, I downloaded the drivers for my usb-spdif adapter to my other laptop, connected it to my DAC, and popping to be heard.


    Now I don't know what to do, because I really wanted to use my "popping" computer as a music source and reserve the newer laptop for my personal use. I don't know if wiping the thing clean and having windows reinstalled and all that would make any difference?


    Oh well, at least you sort of solved my issue...the music sounded GREAT on the new laptop!!! LOL

  • Grayon Level 2 (240 points)

    Turn the volume on your iphone/ipod touch all the way up before connecting USB to your stereo (car, home, computer).  The popping should go away.

  • Mac-Win Harmony Level 1 (0 points)

    That is a very bad practice; in doing that you risk the possibility of speaker damage or damage to either of the connecting devices (your iPod/iPhone). Making a 'LIVE' connection (connecting devices while they are Powered On) has never been advisable and the practice should be avoided with any and all electronic devices. Please read your device manual on how to properly Connect/Disconnect the device.

  • Grayon Level 2 (240 points)

    Perhaps I did not make my response clear.  This technique applies to the USB and not the AUX (i.e. 3.5mm stereo jack) connection. 


    1. Turn volume level down on external stereo source (car, home, computer, etc...)

    2. Turn volume level on iPhone/iPod Touch to maximum volume

    3. Connect audio devices (apple product/stereo) using USB cable

    4. Adjust volume on external stereo source to desired level


    This works for me to eliminate the popping sound.  Use at your own risk.

  • kevin buick Level 2 (410 points)

    turn the volume on the ipod right down to 0

    turn the volume of the external stero source to 5

    plug ipod in to the external wait 30secs and turn the ipod's volume to volume 5 and play ur music etc and slowly turn ur volume on ur external device to ur desired volume level

    if ur external device is able to charge ur device and both volumes are at high levels the poping sound may be the charging sound

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